Concordia University

Research chair and director

Martha Langford

Martha Langford

Martha Langford is Research Chair and Director of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art and a professor of Art History at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Her publications include Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums (2001); Scissors, Paper, Stone: Expressions of Memory in Contemporary Photographic Art (2007); A Cold War Tourist and His Camera, co-written with John Langford (2011); and an edited collection, Image & Imagination (2005), all from McGill-Queen’s University Press (MQUP). Her forthcoming edited collection, Narratives Unfolding: National Art Histories in an Unfinished World, will appear in spring 2017, also from MQUP. Significant contributions include “A Short History of Photography in Canada, 1900–2000,” in Anne Whitelaw, Brian Foss, and Sandra Paikowsky, eds., The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2010). As an institutional and independent curator, she has organized exhibitions of Canadian art that have been shown across Canada, in Europe, and the United States. Her writing on contemporary Canadian art and photography has been translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

She is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Canadian Art History/Annales d’histoire de l’art canadien; co-editor, with Sandra Paikowsky, of the MQUP/Beaverbrook Foundation Series on Canadian Art History; and a founding editorial committee member of Concordia University Press. She is also a contributing editor for Border Crossings (Winnipeg), an advisory board member for Ciel variable (Montreal), and a regular book reviewer for Source (Belfast). In January 2017, she joins History of Photography, as a contributing editor. Recent journal articles on Canadian photographic history have appeared in History of Photography, Visual Studies, Intermedialities: History and Theory of the Arts, Literature and Technologies, and Journal of Canadian Studies. She has a longstanding interest in the Canadian artist and filmmaker Michael Snow, about whom she has written numerous essays and book chapters, as well as the online art book Michael Snow: Life & Work for Art Canada Institute.

Langford was the founding director of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (1985–94), having overseen the transfer of the National Film of Canada, Still Photography Division to the National Gallery of Canada, where its photographic collections have recently been consolidated under the Canadian Photography Institute. At Concordia since 2004, Langford is the organizer of Speaking of Photography, a public lecture series that has welcomed leading photography historians and theorists, which is now in its tenth year, and, as director of the Jarislowsky Institute, she is currently curating a public lecture series on Canadian art history for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

As a co-applicant on the four-year, SSHRC-funded research project “Networked Art Histories: Assembling Contemporary Art in Canada, 1960s to the Present” (Johanne Sloan, principal investigator), Langford has organized two major conference sessions leading to edited collections, including Photogenic Montreal: Ruins and Revisions in a Postindustrial City, now in preparation with co-editor Johanne Sloan. She is the principal investigator for the FRQSC-funded, inter-university emergent research team, Formes actuelles de l’expérience photographique : Épistémologies, pratiques, histoires as well as conducting an independent project, “Momentous Indecision: Canadian Photographic Studies at its Inception, 1968-1983,” funded for four years by the SSHRC Insight program. She is now heading an editorial committee to write Histories of Photography in Canada, to be published by Art Canada Institute, beginning in 2017.

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